So Just how Effective is the Most Expensive Military Machine in History?
For the better part of the Cold War the West would typically rely on its advanced weapons systems in its bid to contain the Soviet Union. Washington would adhere to the tactics of quantitative counterbalancing, building much less tanks and jets that the Warsaw Pact countries while ensuring that their quality was second to none. Back then nobody would even try to dispute that the US was an international leader in such spheres as missile guiding systems and high-precision weapons.
The arms race between Russia and the US started as soon as WWII came to a close, with each party being desperate to outpace its competitor in the struggle to create the most advanced and lethal weapons possible. Then, when the dissolution of the USSR was announced, Washington grew confident of its uncontested dominance in the sphere of military technology.
However, once Russia’s Vladimir Putin unveiled the brand new capabilities of the latest generation of Russian long-range nuclear capable missiles, it became obvious to pretty much everyone that Washington was lagging behind, as it hasn’t even started the development of such systems, let alone testing and producing them. Predictably enough, the National Interest would come to the conclusion that Putin’s super weapons are getting more super by the day as its authors tried to take a closer look at the latest generation of SS-18 missiles that are known for their unparalleled destructive potential.
But does Washington have anything to counterbalance that threat? Well, it has its very own fleet of aging B-1B bombers that is undergoing a readiness crisis. This crisis has already resulted in less than ten of a grand total of sixty-two bombers being capable of making sorties. This disastrous readiness level is most certainly the lowest in the entire history of US Air Forces, as it reduces the overall number of bombers capable of carrying own combat operations by almost a third.
As it’s been reported by the Navy Times, the most expensive US military ship in existence that chipped away some 13 billion dollars of taxpayer money has already encountered a major propulsion system breakdown in the course of its sea trials and is now heading for both costly and lengthy repairs.
Yet another carrier that would typically be described as the pride and joy of the US NAVY, USS Harry S. Truman will most likely be scraped in the nearest future, according to the opinion of American military experts that they expressed in numerous publications.
To add insult to injury, it’s been revealed that Russia’s 30 million dollars missile corvettes have four times the weapons range of the US-made destroyers and cruisers, in spite of the fact that it costs over two billion dollars for the Pentagon to construct one. Ouch.
Against this backdrop, one could hardly blame the Business Insider for the boldness with which it called both Zumwalt-class destroyers, the so-called Littoral Combat Ships and Ford-class aircraft carriers a waste of time and resources.
And we haven’t even started discussing the overpriced monstrosity of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 that has not just become the most expensive weapons program in history but the most useless one just as well. It’s been noted that the total cost of the Pentagon maintaining and operating a fleet of such fighters will result in it wasting 1.196 trillion dollars every year, up from tens of billions, even though most countries wouldn’t even consider spending over ten billion dollars on that.
To make the matter worse, one has to add that F-35 fighters can’t accelerate to supersonic speed without melting their own tails or shedding the expensive coating that provides the plane with its alleged radar-evading capabilities.
According to Dan Grazier, an analyst with Washington’s Project on Government Oversight:
“The services will have to wait five years or more to get a fully functional aircraft, if they ever do.”
Against this background, it’s only logical that Germany announced that it would have little to no interest in acquiring F-35, as it must be much better off purchasing Eurofighters or Boeing’s F-18 instead.
So, thing are looking bleak for the US military contractors, as they don’t consider the mind-boggling sum of 750 billion dollars of today’s US defense budget to be large enough for them to remain competitive on the international markets.
Over the years there’s been a lot of attempts to reveal how the US military budget is being pillaged every year, including the one undertaken by yours truly. In short, the monstrous size of the US military budget allows the military brass to siphon off an excessive amount of wealth in their own pockets. This results in American combat veterans receiving less medical assistance, less benefits, less compassion from the government.
However, to make the ball rolling they keep demonizing Russia, China and Iran, alleging that those three powers will attack the US at any given moment, while selling tens of thousands of units of US expensive and useless military equipment every month. However, the US government is not the only one to waste its funds on expensive toys.
It’s been noted that the US still dominates the massive global weapons trade market, accounting for one-third of the entire thing. In the past five years, the US has sold “major” weapons to at least 96 countries—or nearly half the membership of the UN—with the major buyers being Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Turkey. A congressional report found the US sold more than 36 billion dollars worth of weapons in 2014. That’s nearly 10 billion dollars more than in 2013.
Due to Washington’s global saber-rattling, re-armament is very much the order of the day in Asia and the Middle East. However, US military contractors will not be satisfied, as they demand the US government to use every single trick in the book to increase the already inflated weapons sales.
According to El Pais, Washington issued a written warning to large European countries, threatening them to introduce sanctions against them if they carry on developing their own weapons systems without the assistance of American companies. Thus, the US ensures that the EU won’t be capable to make even a couple of initial steps in the sphere of weapons production, taking down a potential competitor long before it manages to take off.
However, a good salesman would always try every latest technique that it can in its dealings, as the US State Department would offer countries cash to buy American-made weapons if they give up Russian and Chinese weapons.
Since the program began about a year ago, the State Department has pledged 190 million dollars for six projects in six countries: Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Greece, North Macedonia, and Slovakia. At the moment it explores its capability to strike similar deal with countries in Central Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa.
It seems that US military contractors won’t stop at anything to keep selling their overpriced systems the actual combat efficiency of which remains questionable at best.
Martin Berger is a freelance journalist and geopolitical analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”